Saturday, November 3, 2012

In Indiana, Manchester U Peace Studies Takes on the Drone Issue

The Peace Studies program at Manchester University (North Manchester, IN) has taken on the issue of drones.

With the help of the Indiana Drones Project, Hoosiers for Peace and Justice, and local activist Cliff Kindy, leaders at Manchester arranged to bring the drone replica supplied by Know Drones and hold a series of presentations and discussions. As reported in the Manchester University Oak Leaves,
According to peace studies coordinator Becca Creath, the model drone was intended to “spark a conversation” about the use of drones domestically and internationally. “The purpose of the model drone is partly to raise awareness about the fact that the U.S. government is using drones,” she said. “We wanted it to be an opportunity to spark a conversation about how we use [drones] and why we use them."
According to the Oak Leaves report, "Three classes dedicated class time to visiting the drone—two international politics classes and one first-year seminar—and many students took time out of their busy schedules to chat about the drone."

In addition to bringing home the effect of drone killings on victims abroad, the discussions about drones at Manchester helped bring attention to another of the "dirty secrets" of the U.S. drone war: the psychological damage done to the people operating them:
Both Creath and Kindy stressed that drone operators still suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder despite operating from a remote location. This was an issue that hit close to home for Manchester’s student body. According to Kindy, four students had friends or family members that operated a drone, and three of those suffered from post-traumatic stress.
Before the drone left North Manchester, the town had a chance to join in on the conversation when the drone appeared at the local farmer’s market.

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